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Q: Is it a Good Idea to Get Oversized Wheels and Tires for My Car or Truck?

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Is it a good idea to get oversized wheels and tires for my car or truck?

A: Your vehicle was initially designed with a ...

Your vehicle was initially designed with a specific wheel and tire combination that the manufacturer of the vehicle felt was best suited for safety and performance. Many times, the wheels and tires that come with a vehicle may seem too large or too small, or they may not have the best look. Today, there are many options available for us to be able to [change the wheels, tires, or both. Aftermarket wheels seem to have infinite size and style options, and tires have many choices of size, brand and tread design. You may decide to change the wheels and tires for several reasons; the most popular reason by far is for looks, but some seek better performance from their tires. No matter the reason, there are right and wrong ways to do this.

Buying aftermarket wheels is the most popular change when it comes to looks. With wheels that come in all different designs, sizes and colors, your options may be daunting. When choosing the right wheel for your vehicle, the main thing to consider is its size. When you increase the size of your wheel it can negatively impact your vehicle in many ways, especially in regards to the wheel offset. The offset is how far the wheel sticks out from the vehicle. When purchasing a new set of wheels, you want to keep the offset as close to the offset of the factory wheel as possible. The more you change it, the more issues you will have. A small increase in offset will first affect your turning radius by making it much larger. Further deviation from stock will start to put excessive load on the bearings and on the suspension or steering parts, resulting in premature wear; this should be your main concern. The other issue that comes with larger wheels is stopping distance. Larger wheels have a much larger amount of rolling force, which makes it harder to stop your vehicle. This can cause premature brake wear. If you are going to change your wheel size it is important that you keep the offset close to stock and you shouldn't increase the wheel size more than an inch or two.

Changing the size of your tires is typically limited by the size of the wheel and what there is clearance for. If you install larger wheels and are not making any modifications to the vehicle, then your tires will need to be shorter to compensate. If you want wider tires than what comes stock, you can typically only go about one size, or ten millimeters, wider and possibly 5% taller to avoid having any issues. If you go larger than that, you may have issues with the tire stretching on the wheel, causing excessive tire wear, plus problems with the tire rubbing on various areas of the vehicle.

If you are going to increase the size of the wheels and purchase new tires for your vehicle, you need to keep all of the above in mind. Also know that other systems will be affected on newer vehicles, such as the anti lock braking system and the transmission; both of these systems need to have the tire diameter programmed into the computer to ensure that everything is working properly. Some vehicles will allow for this to be programmed into the computer, but most will not. Again, to avoid having any problems, you should always keep changes to a minimum.

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